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Suggestions for overseas Chinese wanting to return amid global pandemic

(People's Daily Online)    09:08, April 03, 2020

With the epidemic situation largely contained in China, many overseas Chinese students and citizens are looking to make the journey back home. However, they should pay attention to the following points when looking for shelter back in their home country.

A staff member checks the information of a passenger entering China at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, east China, March 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

Whether to make the journey back

According to Zhang Wenhong, head of the center of infectious diseases, Huashan Hospital of Fudan University, overseas Chinese students and citizens should make their decision based on the epidemic trend and medical conditions of their respective countries.

After deciding to return to China, they should know in advance that the domestic quarantine process for people entering China has been significantly tightened and be prepared to undergo measures such as concentrated quarantine for 14 days at their own expense and diversion of flights. At the same time, they should consider the risk of exposure to the virus in public places such as airports and enclosed spaces on the way back to China.

How to choose a return flight

As part of measures to prevent imported cases of the coronavirus, domestic and foreign airlines are currently only allowed to operate one route to China from each country, and each route can operate no more than one flight per week.

Furthermore, flights to and from China must not be more than 75 percent full, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, so overseas Chinese students and citizens should choose their flight based on the current situation.

Additionally, Chinese students studying abroad have to contact the Chinese embassy in their respective foreign countries to confirm their visas before returning home, and also need to obtain the latest visa information from the embassy of their respective countries when going abroad again after returning home.

Returning home by plane

As aircraft cabins are confined spaces, the risk of infection is relatively high. If conditions allow, they should take Chinese medicines on a daily basis or before boarding to strengthen their immunity.

After boarding, passengers should try to reduce their activities in the cabin, and observe the passengers around them. If there is a suspected infection case, it should be promptly reported to the flight crew, or the crew should be asked to take physical tests of passengers on board in order to eliminate all possible risks.

Making a health declaration on entry

The General Administration of Customs of China has decided to bring back health declaration measures by requesting that all inbound and outbound travellers fill in the Health Declaration Form on Entry/Exit.

Travellers can also declare the information through online customs services in different regions in order to minimize customs clearance times.

Moreover, inbound and outbound travellers must present the declaration cards or information of electronic declaration bar codes to customs for verification, and cooperate with health officials on measures such as temperature monitoring, medical inspection and medical screening.

Local quarantine policies

Under local quarantine measures, both Chinese and foreign citizens are required to be quarantined for medical observation for 14 days after arrival. In many provinces, there are special collection and distribution centers and special vehicles for transport to ensure closed-loop management of passengers.

Arrangements will be made for inbound travellers who require concentrated quarantine to be sent to specially designated medical observation points, most of which are well-ventilated hotels staffed by professional medical workers. Health monitoring will also be conducted every day.

As for the management cost of concentrated quarantine, many regions have made it clear that the costs will be borne by the inbound passengers themselves. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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